FYI: G.E. Cow’s Milk

Cow named Daisy makes reduced-allergy milk
October 3, 2012

Researchers in New Zealand say a genetically engineered cow is creating milk free of the protein that causes allergies in children. TODAY.com’s Dara Brown reports.  By Trevor Stokes, LiveScience contributor

People allergic to whey may be able to drink newly engineered milk without the unpleasant digestive consequences, according to research released Monday.

A team of New Zealand researchers genetically engineered a cow named Daisy to produce milk free of ß-lactoglobulin protein that can cause allergic skin, digestive and respiratory reactions predominantly in infants.

“Since the protein is not produced in human milk, it’s not surprising that this protein may be recognized as a foreign protein in infants and cause allergies,” study author and scientist at AgResearch in New Zealand Stefan Wagner told LiveScience.

Studies show that about 1 in 12 infants develops an allergic response to whey, but most infants are able to outgrow their allergy.

For decades, food manufacturers have broken up whey protein, a mix of about 10 proteins including ß-lactoglobulin, in milk products through a process called hydrolysis in an effort to decrease its allergenicity. [9 Weirdest Allergies]

“Infant formula uses hydrolyzed milk, which is supposed to be much less allergenic, but there is still residual risk to exposure of allergies,” Wagner said.

Some outside researchers expressed concern because while the milk produced by Daisy does show much less ß-lactoglobulin, it held more of a non-whey protein called casein, which is also responsible for allergies. “We wouldn’t think that this has any relevance to milk allergy; whey protein is one of many, many proteins that people can be allergic to,” said Robert Wood, allergy and immunology chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, who was not involved in the new research.  (Read Full Article)

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